House Calls, August 9, 2012
Practicing family physicians from the UNC Department of Family Medicine have teamed up with The Carrboro Citizen to bring you a weekly feature responding to your questions about health and medicine. Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
This week we respond to questions about nighttime urination, yellow teeth and arthritis prevention.
Dear HOUSE Calls, I wake up several times during the night to go to the bathroom. Is this a problem?
This sounds like a problem that would make us tired. We define this as a problem if you wake up two or more times to urinate during a typical night. Practically speaking, it is a problem if it bothers you or if it represents a change. There are a variety of issues that can be related to nighttime urination. These include drinking too much close to bedtime, especially alcohol and beverages containing caffeine. Enlarged prostate is a common cause of nighttime urination in men. Other medical issues that can cause this include diabetes, heart disease and urinary tract infections. So if there has been a change or it is bothering you, check in with your family doctor.
Dear HOUSE Calls, What causes teeth to stain and turn yellow?
Coffee, tea, wine, dark sodas and especially cigarettes (and other tobacco products) are among the most common causes of yellow teeth. The use of some medications in childhood (tetracycline and doxycycline especially) can contribute as well. There are over-the-counter products and dentist-administered teeth-whitening treatments that are effective. Keep in mind that if you keep using the products that stain teeth, your teeth might get whiter with treatment, but then they will yellow again with tooth-staining beverages and habits.
Dear HOUSE Calls, How can I protect my joints from damage?
The best thing for your joints in terms of the big picture is to maintain a healthy weight. Many people with osteoarthritis have developed it because they are overweight. Staying active and wearing proper-fitting shoes can help. Protect your joints by slowly building up when you start a new exercise regimen. We don’t know of any medicines or supplements that are proven to prevent arthritis. For many people, the development of arthritis is about joint alignment or old injuries, and there is not much you can do about it.
House Calls is a weekly column by Dr. Adam Goldstein, Dr. Cristy Page and Dr. Adam Zolotor on behalf of Your Health and the UNC Department of Family Medicine.
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